Many of you may have seen a blank box being displayed on the screen of your computer — commonly known as “tofu”. It appears when your computer does not recognize a language.

It is very common problem with Unicode supported languages such as Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi etc. Seeing a tufo constantly is somewhat frustrating for people who find that they cannot share or read texts in their original languages.

On Thursday, Google announced a new typography project, Noto in response to tofu, that covers nearly 800 languages across the globe and up to 100 writing scripts. The project that took five years to develop, is one of the biggest typography project in recent times by Google. Most importantly, it is open source and free for download to be used in personal or commercial projects.

Google Noto
A few samples of the 110,000+ characters covered by Noto fonts. Courtesy: Google

Google developed this project in collaboration with experts from Monotype, Adobe and many volunteer reviewers. Noto supports all current Unicode supported languages and will keep updating to incorporate any future Unicode character additions.

Google’s Bob Jung from Internationalization department, wrote in a blog post at Google Developers Blog:

“Five years ago we set out to address this problem via the Noto—aka “No more tofu”—font project. Today, Google’s open-source Noto font family provides a beautiful and consistent digital type for every symbol in the Unicode standard, covering more than 800 languages and 110,000 characters.”

The full size of Noto font file is 472MB including all languages and scripts. But you can search any single language and download individual font of your choice from Noto official website. The fonts are also available publicly at Github repository for cloning if you are interested to contribute in development.

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